Park(ing) Day is Coming

Depressed about the direction Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan is heading? Cheer yourself up by starting to plan for Park(ing) Day 2007. Friday, September 21 is the day when urban dwellers the world over pop quarters into parking meters and take over on-street spaces, temporarily transforming them into miniature parks, playgrounds, cafés and community spaces.

San Francisco is throwing down the gauntlet this year with the construction of the human-powered Parkcycle, above.

Streetsblog is looking for some New York City Park(ers) to step up and meet the challenge by building a parking space-sized studio apartment on wheels complete with Viking range, plasma television and plumbing. Take advantage of the cheapest rent in town — on-street parking space.

  • Clarence

    Yeah, come on folks. Get psyched!!!

    Check out the StreetFilms video from last year:

    And the Park Slope Parking Spot Squat StreetFilm:

  • Boogiedown

    Count me in!

  • Pat

    Placing anything other than a vehicle in a metered spot, or even a non metered spot for that matter, like a dumpster, construction material, a trailer, etc. requires a special permit from DOT. And even vehicles can not park in a metered spot for longer than the stated time limit- usually two hours…no feeding the meter. Otherwise people would be arranging to place cones, chairs and other objects in a spot and feed the meter until they showed up to park.

  • t

    It’s called civil disobedience, performance art, and making a statement, Pat. I’m sure the organizers are well aware of the legalities. Great idea.

  • Pat

    t, you mean there are organizers? Maybe you can state for the record who they are.

  • Pat, if you follow the link in the first paragraph of the article, the secret and nefarious conspiracy will be revealed in all its horror. For the record.

  • howiehedd

    Bicycles are considered “vehicles” by law so with one bike rider per space, an entire block worth of “parking” spaces could be liberated by a dozen people or so.

    Thanks for pointing out the loophole pat !!

    BTW, I love the idea of the “parkcycle” but the moving it every 2 hours (12 times a day) would get to be a drag.


    A real business could be built around providing constantly moving urban parkland (think: double decker tourist buses for locals)sell coffee and snacks to keep it moving… One more place for New Yorkers to hang out, one less space for greedy selfish stupid wasteful suburban scum.

    An all win situation !

  • The Great Tralfaz

    Yeah Pat. Thanks. Good job!

    I want to organize one too.

  • Pat

    Sorry Howieheadd, by vehicles, I meant registered motor vehicles, the ones that pay fees and taxes to the state, not bicycles that maybe should start paying considering how much the city is putting out for bike lanes…

    Also sorry Howiehead about the liberating parking spaces idea, but every kid in Harlem and the South Bronx where I grew up would have figured it out by now. Descend on Midtown and occupy a space, feed the meter, and demand a hefty fee to relinquish it.

  • howiehedd

    Hey Pat,

    With all due respect to what you mean, if you ride a bike on a sidewalk, you learn very quickly, from a police officer, that according to New York State law (no matter how hick-inspired or inbred)a bicycle is a vehicle.

    Its not the bike rider’s fault that the greatest city in the world has to ask “Mother May I” from North Appalachia. We’re just stuck with them for now.

  • TPO

    As an Outer Borough resident and bike rider, I was happy that Planyc failed. Nothing was in the plan that was a guarantee for the outlying areas around the restriction zone.

    The audacity of any bike rider or representative group to align themselves with
    the anti-bike, anti-free mayor on a plan that call for his control of the plan was tragic and transparently self interested. Like those who stood with Bloomy on the Wide side adventure, you deserve the harsh light that is going to shine on your words, people do speak politically with end of year tax donations.

    The Idea that only a certain section containing the wealthiest of the NY was to benefit was class discrimination if not just overtly racist.

    The idea that the MTA was under the Mayor’s control and supposed grassroots urged the public to accept a plan without an impact statement was a dis-ingenious mis-direction if not utterly dis-honorable to communities fighting for representation at the table. Mr. Corzine is a half Partner with the MTA as he already stated he would work against the plans immediate implementation, where exactly could the have the power to increase subway service to city residents on the backs of jersey drivers. The result would have been no improvement of subway service until NJ got something in return.

    Riding through Brooklyn as much as in Mahattan is as hazardous and dangerous to one’s health. If the Mayor’s object was to divide the communities struggling to undo all the his brand of faux “eco” biker hate-mongering, I believe he succeeded.

    You euro-american Manhattanite should keep your cars and congestion, we here in Brooklyn don’t want to suffer more because you want to suffer less.

    Plain & simple, everyone got jerked because now Bloomy can deny and deflect with some and mirrors that he tried, what he was trying no one knew what it exactly was, and like the west side, that is why it failed.

    Tragically, us Brooklyn critical mass folk may think twice about joining a ride that would have such easily led the many Uncle Tom living in the restriction zone. They may turn State’s evidence were Bloomy orders our arrests.

    By the way, since when does have any eco street “cred” when he uis turning the FDR grass into vast lawns of Astro-turf.

  • God no wonder no one likes critical mass.

  • Ian Turner


    As is frequently the case, I think you have confused support of the policy with support of the man. One can be excited about congestion pricing while disagreeing with the mayor about a large number of things, including misuse of the NYPD, patronage to developer friends, abuse of permit restrictions, serious compromises to civil rights, and more. But it’s not only unproductive to praise or damn the man, it’s also missing the point — the policy is the important thing, regardless of who supports it, or even why.

    The rest of your e-mail contained a number of misunderstandings about the consequences of the congestion pricing program, which I’m sure will be debunked here in short order, so I’ll leave it at that.


  • gu

    Eh. TPO’s comment is so off-topic that no one should bother responding.

    Regarding Pat’s comment: of course it’s questionably legal or even outright illegal. You don’t make a political point by doing the thing that the government wants you to do.

    Also, I pay taxes to the city and state. A lot. As does every other resident of this city, car owner or not. And I’m sure some of my tax money goes to pay for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure used by the thousands of cars that come into the city each day. So maybe it’s car drivers who “should start paying considering how much the city is putting out for” road maintenance. Painted bike lanes are hardly in the same league as thousands of miles of roadway, repaving, pothole repair, traffic signals, bridges, tunnels…

  • Ian Turner

    The detailed rules for what does and does not constitute a parking violation are detailed in The Official Compilation of the Rules of New York, 34 § 4-08. You can get the whole chapter here:

    Basically, bicycles cannot park in street spaces: § 4-01 (b) defines a vehicle as “Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks” — that obviously excludes bicycles and even the parkmobile. Furthermore, § 4-08 (h) (7) species that “It shall be unlawful for any person to … prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street … by placing any box, can, crate, hand-cart, dolly or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway.”

    That said, I suspect one could get a permit allowing this without too much trouble.

  • lee

    wow you really needed to reclaim 20ft of public space in park slope when there is 585 acres of public space two blocks away.

  • r

    Yes, 585 acres of public space where cars are allowed access for five hours each weekday.

  • anonymous

    Lee, your status-quo-bound thinking proves the need for the park(ing) event. The point is that the 585 acres of Prospect Park are dwarfed by the amount of land dedicated to the parking of motor vehicles. This strikes many of us as inequitable, since most of us do not own cars. The Park(ing) event dramatizes the inequity and demonstrates an alternative. Pat quotes the law enshrining the status quo without addressing the broader point. Lee is so accustomed to the status quo s/he cannot understand the point of the event. Like Nigel Tufnel stressing that “these amps go to eleven,” Lee stresses that would-be participants in the park(ing) event can enjoy designated parklands, so why should they care that the much larger amount of public space set aside for parking cars is off-limits to pedestrians? It’s folks like Pat and Lee, who refuse to or are incapable of engaging the message, that make direct action/civil disobedience necessary.

    Ian and gu are correct, there is a risk of getting a ticket or worse for maintaining a park(ing) site in NYC. Its probably less of a risk than that faced by the folks who bicycle together on the last Friday of each month. It’s much less of a risk than the one Rosa Parks took when she sat at the front of the bus to protest racial segregation, that more evil form of ineequitably allocating public space. There are many, many important differences between civil rights and pedestrian or bicyclists rights, but in both cases you see an entrenched status quo so deeply enshrined in law and people’s mindset that direct action/civil disobedience is necessary to get the message across.

    So spare us the moral posturing. Even if you ignore the inequitable allocation of public space, the roadways are brimming with illegal and dangerous parking by motorists. Do Pat and Lee denounce that? Are they willing to do anything about it?

  • lee

    so squat on the park drives. i promise ill join you.

    thanks for your scathing psychological insight.

  • Red

    Won’t this event just increase cruising for parking, thus increasing congestion citywide?!

    Kidding, kidding.

  • Pat

    Anonymous 18: Moral posturing? Where, where? Actually, the only reason I referred to (not quoted) the ‘status quo enshrining law’ was in the interest of disclosure. The poster of this gave a misleading impression that it was perfectly okay for, say, goo goo eyed NYU co-eds to roll out their ‘I love Al Gore’ floats on Park(ing) Day as long as they fed the meter. Let’s roll the tape, “the day when urban dwellers the world over pop quarters into parking meters and take over on-street spaces, temporarily transforming them into miniature parks, playgrounds, cafés and community spaces”. I didn’t even offer any editorial comments like that it was stupid ideas a best and hypocritical at worst considering those parking meters are a form of congestion pricing and recourse allocation in themselves. I didn’t even suggest that the poster was a low down deceiving, sidewalk peddling twit or anything like that. I just felt heartsick for those poor damsels potentially trying to figure out how to pay a $1,000 ECB violation they incurred by listening to some trust fund wanger who grand sire probably made his fortune sending coal up smokestacks. Not even to mention the poor toddlers who can’t get their dialysis or chemo treatment that day for lack of a meter…. Sorry Anon 18, but from that little nonsensical diatribe, I would say that you have probably forgotten more about moral posturing than most folks ever learn.

    But seriously, what is it you are actually braying about anyway, illegal and dangerous parking by motorist? You got to be kidding. If it is illegal, the city bangs it with a summon. In fact, I would be willing to bet that the city is so adept at issuing summonses that most ticketed vehicles get tagged within two minutes of committing the violation. How do you think Bloomberg got the city out of its budgetary doldrums after 9/11? Financial genius? No. Banging out summonses left and right. In fact, a lot of people still hate him for that and the simmering resentment probably had a lot to do with the downfall of his congestion-pricing plan to make Manhattan a more taxi and limo friendly environment for his big money hobnobs.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    poor toddlers who can’t get their dialysis or chemo treatment that day for lack of a meter

    Okay, Pat, you’re always a bit of a troll, but on this one you’re completely full of shit. No toddler is going to go without chemo because of a parking spot.

  • Pat

    Hey,its Angus. True, provided there is a parking spot, and not some jerk occupying it with a minature putting green or a Starbucks knockoff cafe.

    So what did you think of Bloomberg’s pathetic statement yesterday that the $500M in Federal funding was not meant to improve mass transit afterall, but only to prevent a fare increase and service cutbacks? But I got to admit at least that is better than your suggestion that the money was meant to pay back the Transportation Bond. That was a great endorsement of the city’s finances for Moody’s.

    By the way, I didn’t realize this blog was suppose to be a cheering section for the green shirt Carl Rove goon squad that showed up at every Bloomie CP rally.

  • There was an “art-event” on Lower Broadway that included a firing range in the basement. How did they get permission for that? The whole thing was broadcast on the Internet, and therefore the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting fast-tracked what would otherwise have been impossible.

    My point? I bet Clarence and his team would be out getting footage to add to his documentary series, which even gets screened in movie houses….

    Yes, I am volunteering to work with the CAU and FT&B to get permits.

  • James

    This is an awesome idea! Does not make pedestrian/cycling advocates seem like cranks AT ALL! This will totally win over the hearts and minds! Once the public infers the message that we are opposed to legal parking anywhere in this city, we will be TOTALLY MAINSTREAM! Yes! Do it!

  • r

    Nice attempt at sarcasm, James, but you must be confusing things.

    No one here is against legal parking and only a few are truly against cars. The idea of this event is simply that too much public space is given over to the movement and parking of cars. We just want a little back. If you infer that the event means that people are against all legal parking, then no amount of street theater, rational debate, or blog posts will convince you otherwise.

  • Ian D

    (Responding to Pat in #21)

    Pat – what precinct do you work in, anyway?

    Not the First or Sixth, I take it. The CB here has been trying to get a “Banging out summonses left and right”-machine like you! We are overwhelmed with illegal parkers (just walk down the extension of 10th Ave. below 14th St. – every single one of those cars is illegally parked and we’ve never seen a summons-blitz). Illegal parking in the no-standing zones of Houston St. during the reconstruction project causes backups for a dozen blocks and road-rage among all the NJ-bound Holland Tunnel lemmings.

    So, think you could offer us a within-two-minute tagging service down here? We’ll take you up on that offer!


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